Christmas Song Chords and Lyrics

Learn Holiday Carols on Guitar

Whether they admit it or not, everyone loves taking part in a good Christmas song singalong. The tricky part is learning all the dozens of classic Christmas carols in advance of those carolling sessions. The following pages will help you find lyrics and chords for common and rare Christmas songs. Unless otherwise noted, each of the following Christmas songs includes lyrics and guitar chords.

1
All Through the Night

reindeer christmas
Johner Images | Getty Images

Also known by it's Welsh title "Ar Hyd y Nos", this folk song is popular with traditional Welsh male voice choirs. Although not explicitly written as a Christmas song, it has been recorded by many artists on holiday recordings. One notable version of "All Through the Night" was recorded by singer Anthony Brown on his 2006 album Each Other's Light, Songs Of Peace, Hope And Justice.

2
Angels from the Realms of Glory

annie lennox christmas
Annie Lennox. Kevin Mazur | Getty Images

This Scottish Christmas carol began to be sung in churches in 1825. You may recognize this song from Annie Lennox's 2010 album Christmas Cornucopia.

3
Angels We Have Heard on High

carpenters old fashioned christmas

"Angels We Have Heard on High" is a French Christmas carol which has become popular across the world. The song has been recorded by countless artists, including a popular version by The Carpenters on their 1978 album An Old Fashioned Christmas.

4
As Lately We Watched

christmas childrens choir
Carl Court | Getty Images

Here is an Austrian carol that tells the story of the birth of Christ, told from the perspective of the Shepherds. The melody for the song is similar to "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

5
Auld Lang Syne

beach boys merry christmas
Michael Ochs Archives | Getty Images

Roughly translated as "old long since", this traditional New Year's anthem is based on an 18th century Scottish poem by Robert Burns.

The song was not originally intended to be used on New Year's Eve - it wasn't until Guy Lombardo included the song in his popular NYE radio show in New York City that it became associated with the holiday. Fans of the Beach Boys will know their great 1964 recording on the The Beach Boys' Christmas Album.

6
Away in a Manger

Petula Clark
Petula Clark in 1948. Central Press | Getty Images

This popular hymn first appeared in publication in an 1863 periodical from a Publishing House in Boston, Massachusetts. In that periodical, it cites the originating author of the text as Martin Luther, written at some point in the early sixteenth century. Petula Clark's recording of the carol in 1958 was one of the first British records to be issued in stereo.

7
Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella

sufjan stevens
Mike Flokis | Getty Images

Originating from Provence, France in the 16th century, this carol wasn't translated into English until the 18th century. Although still not particularly well-known in North America, indie singer-songwriter included the song in his 2002 release Hark!: Songs for Christmas, Vol. II.
 

8
Christmas in Killarney

irish rovers

Here's a modern carol - an Irish Christmas song written in 1950 by John Redmond, James Cavanaugh and Frank Weldon. Although the most popular version was probably the one recorded by Bing Crosby, it seems more appropriate when coming from a traditional band like The Irish Rovers.

9
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting...)

nat king cole natalie christmas
Michael Ochs Archives | Getty Images

"The Christmas Song" (aka "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire") was written in 1944 by singer Mel Torm and Bob Wells. The most notable version of the song was sung by Nat King Cole, who released four separate recordings of the carol.

10
Christmas Wrapping

waitresses christmas wrapping

It's a Christmas song for hipsters! This fun recording was made in 1981 by the Akron, Ohio based band "The Waitresses". Don't let the modern nature of the recording scare you off this one, though - AllMusic called it "one of the best holiday pop tunes ever recorded."

11
Coventry Carol

john denver
Tony Russell

This English Christmas carol was written in the 16th century. "Coventry" is a location - it refers to a metropolitan borough in the center of England. The authors of both the lyrics and the melody are unknown. Although traditionally sung acapella, many notable artists - including John Denver - have recorded the song with instrumental backing.

12
Deck the Halls

holly mountains
Chris Jackson | Getty Images

The *original* (not the "Deck the halls with balls of cotton" version) English lyrics for "Deck the Halls" have been attributed to John Thomas, written in 1862. The melody apparently dates back to a sixteenth century Welsh song called "Nos Galan". The song has been recorded thousands of times by many different popular artists.

13
Feliz Navidad

jose feliciano christmas navidad
George Napolitano | Getty Images

 Written in 1970 by Puerto Rican singer José Feliciano, it has become not only his signature song but one recognized  across the world. Written partially in both Spanish and English, Feliz Navidad is an upbeat new holiday classic. Since its release, the song has been recorded by Celne Dion, Boney M and many more.

14
The First Noel

neil diamond christmas
Kevin Mazur | Getty Images

"The First Noel" originated in it's current form from Cornwall, England, first appearing in William Sandys' 1823 songbook Carols Ancient and Modern. The song has been recorded by countless artists, including Neil Diamond on his 1994 album The Christmas Album, Volume II.

15
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

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Bob Berg | Getty Images

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is one of the oldest known Christmas carols, dating back at least to the 16th century. The song is listed as number 394 in the Roud Folk Song Index. The song is one of the few Christmas carols written in a minor key. The Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan recorded a great version of this carol for 2004's Barenaked for the Holidays.

16
Good Christian Men, Rejoice

bing crosby singing
Getty Images | Archive Photos

Although versions of the song have been translated different ways over the centuries, the version known as "Good Christian Men Rejoice" was translated to English from Latin in 1853 by John M. Neale for Carols in Christmastide.

17
Good King Wenceslas

Loreena McKennitt harp
Ebet Roberts | Getty Images

Englishman John Mason Neale wrote the lyrics for this Christmas carol in 1853, collaborating with Thomas Helmore on the music. The song is based on legends surrounding Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia in the 10th century. Canadian singer-harpist Loreena McKennitt recorded a memorable version of the carol for her 2008 album A Midwinter Night´s Dream.

18
Grandma got Run Over by a Reindeer

elmo patsy
GAB Archive | Getty Images

This new Christmas classic was first performed by husband-and-wife Elmo and Patsy Trigg Shropshire in 1979. It's a novelty song that people enjoy, and could be a great addition to your repertoire this holiday season.

19
Greensleeves (What Child is This?)

johnny mathis 1958
Stringer | Getty Images

This Christmas carol features lyrics derived from a poem called "The Manger Throne", written in 1865 by William Chatterton Dix. Although not initially set to music, it was subsequently set to the English folk tune "Greensleeves".

20
Hark the Herald Angels Sing

nat king cole tuxedo
Echoes | Getty Images

This Charles Wesley penned-carol first appeared in a 1739 collection Hymns and Sacred Poems. The original piece was somber and slow, and was performed this way for a century. In 1840, however, English musician William H. Cummings adapted a Mendelssohn cantata to the original lyrics, and the more noble, joyful version we know today was born. Singer-pianist Nat King Cole recorded one of the most notable versions of this carol.

21
Here We Come A Wassailing

perry como
Getty Images

Written in 1850 about the holiday tradition of singing from door to door ("wassailing" is another word for "caroling"). The writer of the song is not known. One of the most well-known recordings of the song was made by Perry Como with the Ray Charles Singers.

22
The Holly and the Ivy

natalie cole christmas
Jeff Kravitz | Getty Images

 This Christmas song is performed in 3/4 (waltz) time. The author of this Christmas Carol is unknown. The words from the carol first appeared in a book review in 1849, but the original creation date is believed to be significantly earlier. The song has been performed by numerous artists, notably by Natalie Cole on her 1994 album Holly & Ivy.

23
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

sarah mclachlan
Jeff Kravitz | Getty Images

24
I Saw Three Ships

25
In the Bleak Midwinter

26
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

27
Jingle Bell Rock Chords - the correct chords and lyrics for Christmas Carols

bobby helms
Bobby Helms. GAB Archive | Getty Images

 "Jingle Bell Rock" is a modern Christmas song written by Joseph Carleton Beal and James Ross Boothe for American country music singer Bobby Helms. This song is significantly trickier to play than most other Christmas songs.

29
Jolly Old Saint Nick

31
Little Drummer Boy

david bowie bing crosby
GAB Archive | Getty Images

 "The Little Drummer Boy" was written by classical music composer Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941. Among the most popular versions of the song is a 1977 recording of "The Little Drummer Boy" pairing the unlikely duo of David Bowie and Bing Crosby.

32
Merry Christmas Baby

33
Must Be Santa

mitch miller
Mitch Miller. Michael Ochs Archives | Getty Images

This Christmas novelty song was written in 1960 by Hal Moore and Bill Fredericks, first made popular by Mitch Miller. Although apparently based on a German beer drinking song, different artists have interpreted  

35
O Christmas Tree

nat king cole natalie christmas
Michael Ochs Archives | Getty Images

Based on a 16th-century Silesian folk song by early Baroque era composer Melchior Franck. This folk song, titled "Ach Tannenbaum" ("oh, fir tree") was the basis for new lyrics written in 1824 by German teacher, organist, and composer Ernst Anschütz. Not previously considered to be a holiday song, the two new verses added by Anschütz made explicit references to Christmas. 

37
O Holy Night

enrico caruso
Hulton Archive | Getty Images

This French Christmas carol was created by Adolphe Adam in 1847. The hymn created by Adam was based on the poem "Minuit, chrétiens" written by the atheist poet, Placide Cappeau. Although performed by everyone from Destiny's Child to Andrea Bocelli, one of the signature recordings of the carol was by opera singer Tenor Enrico Caruso in 1916.

39
Once in Royal David's City

40
Run Rudolph Run

41
Santa Baby

eartha kitt santa baby
Eartha Kitt recorded the definitive verson of "Santa Baby" in 1953. GAB Archive | Getty Images

This Christmas song was written in 1953 and first recorded by legendary diva Eartha Kitt. The song became one of Kitt's signature songs, which she recorded numerous times over her career. "Santa Baby" has become a favorite of more recent artists, covered by Taylor Swift in 2007.

45
Sleigh Ride

46
The First Noel

47
The Twelve Days of Christmas

48
(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays

49
Up on the Housetop

52
We Wish You A Merry Christmas

53
What Child is This

harry connick jr
David Redfern | Getty Images

This 1940 Christmas carol was written by songwriter Irving Berlin. The quintessential recording of the song by Bing Crosby in 1942 has sold more than 150 million copies. If you can play barre chords, this shouldn't be too tough.

54
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night